Monday, May 2, 2011
The Weekend Recap
The Washington Capitals went into the weekend with high hopes and optimism after cakewalking through the Rangers. Little did we know Caps fans that we’d be in a 2-0 hole this sad Monday morning. I’m not even close to panicking because even Vincent Lecavalier said last night that Tampa Bay has gotten lucky on both wins.
Let’s start by reviewing Friday night’s depressing let down. Washington fell 4-2 after leading 2-1 in the second period. The Caps gave up two quick goals in the final three minutes of the period to Steve Downie and Steven Stamkos. Stamkos’ goal was perhaps the nail in the coffin when he scored on the power play in the final minute. The penalty kill looked much disorganized and was caught sleeping on the goal. After Alex Semin and Eric Fehr lit the lamp for the red sweaters, we looked sluggish and did not show much intensity in the third period. Michal Neuvirth did not play poorly with one of the goals coming from Scott Hannan’s stick. Neuvy saved 20 of the 23 shots with some unlucky bounces.
Last night’s game was a chance to come out in front of our home crowd and recapture that winning feeling heading to Tampa, but we could not finish the job. Whenever you go 0 for 6 on the power play you aren’t going to win games. The Capitals just looked careless and at times failed to even enter the zone on the extra man. Not only did the PP look bad but the PK as well for the second straight game. The Lightning have scored power play goals in back to back games which was one of the keys to the series.
Things to improve on after Game 1&2
· PP and PK. The Caps will have to make some changes on these two aspects of their game because it is vital to them coming back in the series. If Washington scores one PP goal last night they win that game. As for the defense on the kill, stupid mistakes need to be cleaned up around the goal mouth. Finally, stop taking stupid penalties!
· Where is Nicklas Backstrom? I have never seen Nicky be this invisible in any stretch of games in his career. He has only logged two assists in seven games and has a -1 ice rating. Nick is one of the most elusive players in the game and he is very capable of turning a game or even a series around for that matter. Please find the net soon!
· Jeff Schultz and Mike Green. Let me be honest I wouldn’t trade a ham sandwich for Jeff Schultz! He is the biggest player on the team, yet he shies away from physical contact. Schultz is also slow and was a -2 in last night’s loss. Greener had a great first round but now he has back to his old antics. We need this defensive tandem to find their game fast!
· Lucky Bounces. This cannot be controlled, but it would be nice if things started going our way. Tampa Bay has scored two goals on bounces off Caps players. Their luck will run out!
· 12th forward. I think this is one of the reasons why we fell short last night. I did not like seeing Matt Hendricks getting the healthy scratch and honestly I feel Marco Sturm should get it the next game. He hasn’t proved anything in the post season and Hendricks always gives 110%. Figure it out Bruce!
Washington has to win four out of five games and they are out of this hole and in to the next round. The next two games in Tampa are on back to back nights which I think is a positive thing. It means less time sitting around thinking about being down in the series. We have to stop feeling sorry for ourselves because it is the NHL playoffs. Two years ago we were down 2-0 and 3-1 in the first round series to the Rangers and we defied the odds and won. We cannot let this time pass; this is our year and Alex Ovechkin and the boys won’t fall short like last year. Finally keep the faith and do not be a hater on the Capitals right now. They need our support; Rock the Red!
In Ovi We Trust